Does someone in your life continue to disappoint you? Do you expect them to do better next time or finally get things right? Do you wonder when they will change or what it will have to take to change them?
What if the tables were turned? Would you reach the expectations people set for you? Would you fall short? Would the bar be set so high that there would be no way you could reach it?
We often hold loved ones and not-so-loved ones to high standards. We expect people in our lives to be a certain way. Our siblings must share their things with us – food, clothes, money. Our parents must be extra-patient and gracious with us because that’s what parents are supposed to do. Our friends must be selfless, not always thinking about themselves, but more about us, first. And even the stranger walking past us must smile, otherwise they are automatically considered rude – or the stranger driving in the lane next to us must let us in, or we think they have a serious problem.
The bar is too high. Perfection can never be reached. Being “good enough” will never be “good enough.” When we take off our eternal, heavenly lenses and put on our temporary, earthly ones, disappointment happens and a list of other really ugly qualities like bitterness, resentment and condemnation. When our eyes are seeing things through Jesus’ eyes, our only hope for others would be that their hearts would accept Him as Savior, submit to Him as Lord and passionately and unconditionally follow Him. If we look at people in our lives with love, Christ-like love, our focus wouldn’t be about them fitting into our mold of expectations, but rather about us loving and accepting them where they are at.
Again, I cannot help but think about if the tables were turned. What if Christ set a bar for me? I most definitely would not have cleared it. It would have been way too high. I would not have even come close. Thankfully that is not how He works. Thankfully that is not how love works. Love does not set a bar that has to be cleared. Love is without conditions, without expectations.
Put the bar down, as Christ did, and choose to love like He does.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son [Jesus Christ] into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. | 1 John 4:7-12